1 This was the Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt. Debien speculates that the
Société des Amis des Noirs may have played a role in its production (92).
2 Brugevin’s account suggests the possibility that slaves may have suspected that
they were being poisoned: ‘‘Ces hommes sont ennemis de tous médicaments
composés et qu’ils ne les prennent qu’avec le plus grand dégoût’’ (109).
Chapter 1: In the Beginning
1 Throughout the nineteenth century, and for most of the twentieth, the Mauritian
economy was based on sugar monocropping. More recently, however, it has
undergone a rapid industrialization, focused on the manufacture and export of
textiles. Tourism is also an important component of the new economy. On the
political economy of sugar, see North-Coombes 2000; for a critical analysis of
postindependence Mauritius political economy, see Durand and Durand 1975;
and for a discussion of recent economic development, see Dommen and Dom-
2 On the longue durée of Indian Ocean history, see especially Chaudhuri 1985 and
3 I discuss the question of identity without origins in chapter 4. This aspect of
‘‘creolization’’ is also analyzed in the literature of the Antillean creolité movement,
which I refer to in chapter 8 (see Glissant 1981).
4 At independence in 1968, communal tensions were seen as a major worry for the
new nation, along with population pressure, poverty, and the island’s depen-
dence on sugar; see Titmuss 1968 and Benedict 1965. These pessimistic predic-
tions were not fulfilled, and the specter of serious communal conflict has receded,
at least for the time being. Problems remain, however, not least the economic,
political, and social marginalization of the Creole community (those largely
descended from slaves and ex-slaves), in addition to the dissatisfactions of the